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Old 03-09-2009   #21
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

For the writer, or anyone who aspires to be one, reading is essential. Not only does one use other fiction as a tool to learn, but the act of reading is akin to filling the creative gas-tank. We ingest, we digest, we regurgitate the ideas into spectacularly coloured patterns on the page.

Right now, I feel my own gas tank is nearing empty, having spent so long over the past year focusing on my fiction rather than my reading. As soon as I complete my latest project I intend to sit back, relax, and crack open some hardcovers.

Mr Pugmire laments the move toward electronic methods of delivering fiction, and though I agree the printed page is wonderful, we must by cognizant of the fact that the new generations are not so averse to reading off a screen. But, most of all, the future of electronic books is not reading from a laptop but rather electronic paper. The Kindle is just the beginning of what's to come. Bound books will always exist, but for many, the electronic book offers too many advantages for the modern electronic age.

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Old 03-09-2009   #22
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

This thread is very depressing. However it seems, at least in my case, that I'm bucking the trend. At 33 (is that still considered young?) I'm reading voraciously at a rate far surpassing what I'd read in the past and outside my usual comfort zones. All this, even though I'm working more hours than I ever have and own my own business. Of course it helps having no children (nor wanting any) and a very understanding girlfriend (also a reader; that is, if one considers the TWILIGHT books reading). Further, I stopped watching TV about 13 years ago. You'd be amazed how much extra time one has without the idiot box. I'm convinced non-readers who prefer the hi-def opiates of television, dispensed by Hollywood and the media, will be the "Morlocks" of the future. May we be their masters.

In addition, I've found my curiosity has expanded exponentially the older I get. Suddenly everything interests me. I used to read horror almost exclusively, but one day, while reflecting on my mortality (and seeing it as a very finite thing), I realize how many "classic" works I've never read. Did I really want to die without ever experiencing Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables; even Joyce's Ulysses (or at least attempt it)? My answer was a resounding, NO. Since then I've made it my goal to read at least a book per week. Last week I read 4.

I look at books as personal upgrades. After I read a book, I'm no longer Kevin, I'm Kevin 2.0; another book and I'm Kevin 2.1, etc. I figure we have two choices: we can chose to evolve and broaden our understanding via reading brilliant (or at least clever) works, or we can sit passively in the glare of predatory screens as they flicker mindless content across our slack and hypnotized faces.

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain

Last edited by The New Nonsense; 03-09-2009 at 09:10 PM..
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Old 03-10-2009   #23
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Edit: Bah.

Last edited by Viva June; 08-14-2010 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 03-11-2009   #24
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

The writer's task is to invent the reality. Ballard

Probably at certain age, reality becomes the only fantasy one could have, better than any fiction. Just observe reality and you are going to have all the fiction you miss from the books.

Wise is the man that contents himself with the show of the world. Josť Saramago

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Old 03-11-2009   #25
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Quote Originally Posted by Viva June View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
"Slow down, you move too fast."
"... got to make the morning last"? Maybe that is the why and wherefore of fiction: shamelessly kicking down the cobblestones for a while, just looking for fun and feeling, if not groovy, then at least slightly light-headed. Fiction is essentially a frivulous pursuit, and yet even escapism often involves a certain severity [...].
I have the feeling, whenever I read non-fiction, that I need to remember everything in that particular non-fiction book; that when reading non-fiction, there are certain demands that must be met. I need to remember what text says in a different way than reading fiction - there seems to me to be certain obligations connected to reading non-fiction.
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Old 03-11-2009   #26
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Quote Originally Posted by MadsPLP View Post
I have the feeling, whenever I read non-fiction, that I need to remember everything in that particular non-fiction book; that when reading non-fiction, there are certain demands that must be met. I need to remember what text says in a different way than reading fiction - there seems to me to be certain obligations connected to reading non-fiction.
This makes me feel like a very irresponsible nonfiction reader. When I was younger, I felt guilty if I didn't read every book carefully from cover to cover. But in recent years I've mastered the fine art of dipping, scanning, skipping, using indexes, tables of contents, and summary information in introductions and afterwords -- in short, focusing quickly on what I want and ignoring the rest. At this point, I've read bits and pieces of thousands of books and lord knows how many magazines. (It helps to live near a university library.) With books that I own, I frequently look back at passages I've marked in pencil. The critic I. A. Richards once wrote, "A book is a machine to think with." That is how I treat them (although "machine" probably isn't the word I'd use). I usually don't read in order to learn facts; I read for insights, perspectives, ideas, opinions, thought-structures. Of course, I pick up quite a few facts along the way. If I find a book that is of great interest to me (such as Louis A. Sass's Madness and Modernism or Graham Harman's Guerrilla Metaphysics or Thomas Ligotti's draft of CATHR), then I will read it carefully from cover to cover. Those three are books that I will eventually reread, too. Otherwise, very cavalierly and with no feelings of guilt whatsoever, I get in, get what I want, and get out.
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Old 03-11-2009   #27
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

I think that is the ideal way to approach non-fiction.

I'm just such an idiot with regards to non-fiction. I hope get better at it at some point. I think I may be doing the very thing you're describing, but only after putting too much time and effort into my regular way of reading non-fiction.
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Old 03-11-2009   #28
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Quote Originally Posted by MadsPLP View Post
I think that is the ideal way to approach non-fiction.

I'm just such an idiot with regards to non-fiction. I hope get better at it at some point. I think I may be doing the very thing you're describing, but only after putting too much time and effort into my regular way of reading non-fiction.
I spent many years plodding carefully through every book I read before I finally learned how to access what I wanted more efficiently.
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Old 08-14-2010   #29
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

This may be the best thread to discuss whether TL's Conspiracy Against The Human Race is fiction or non-fiction.

And if the latter, does it colour your reading of the TL fiction retrocausally -

and, if so, for good or ill?

des

My take: http://weirdmonger.blog-city.com/the...t_question.htm

Btw, re-reading this thread is a very interesting task!

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 08-14-2010   #30
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Re: (Why) Have we stopped reading fiction ?

Although I can truly only speak for myself, I do feel there has been a huge shift in the way people regard themselves in relation to the world. I think it has a lot to do with human beings being forced to regard life as an incredibly serious deal, a deal that you better invest your entire being into or you might end up poor, sick, jobless or whatever things that fit under the umbrella of social dereliction. Maybe we're all just tired. Maybe we no longer have room in our hearts and brains to engage our imaginations and wonder. It's hard trying to balance all of the trivial responsibilities so that we can simply exist in a somewhat comfortable state while we are alive. It's exhausting trying to stay afloat sometimes.

I was always a dreamer as a child and my imagination was always my best friend, and it still remains that way. I have always found modern life to be incredibly boring and mudane, and i still struggle to understand not only why society is the way it is, but why human beings are such suckers for it. It truly boggles my mind. it's such an unnatural way for any animal to exist. I have been reading a lot of science books and articles lately, and some of it is really fascinating but I still can't help but walk away from such "real" knowledge saying, "Ok?" It's cool to know, but I don't see what the big deal is.

I always fall back on a good Einstein quote whenever I feel myself losing my sense of wonder: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." It always interested me that a man labeled a genius in regard to the workings of the physical world knew just how important the imagination was.
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